Sam Elliott

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Sam Elliott
Sam Elliot.jpg
Elliott at the Veterans Day Ceremonies at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, November 2001
Born Samuel Pack Elliott
(1944-08-09) August 9, 1944 (age 70)
Sacramento, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Other names Kyle Peterson
Education Clark College
Alma mater Cal State LA
Occupation Actor
Years active 1968-present
Spouse(s) Katharine Ross

Samuel Pack "Sam" Elliott (born August 9, 1944) is an American actor. His rangy physique, thick horseshoe moustache, deep, resonant voice, and Western drawl lend to frequent casting as cowboys and ranchers. His other credits over the years have included playing Marvel Comics characters General Ross in Hulk (2003), and the The Caretaker in Ghost Rider (2007).

Early life[edit]

Sam Elliott was born in Sacramento, California,[1] to a physical training instructor mother and a father who worked for the Department of the Interior.[2] He moved from California to Oregon with his family during his teenage years, where he graduated from David Douglas High School in Portland. He attended Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, where he completed a two-year program and was cast as one of the leads in Guys and Dolls. The local newspaper suggested that Elliott should be a professional actor. Soon after, Elliott declared he was going to Hollywood to become a star. Elliott is a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at Cal State LA. He worked in construction while studying acting in Los Angeles and served in the California Army National Guard. Elliott also lived for a short time in Princeton, West Virginia.[3]


Elliott began his career as a character actor; his appearance, voice, and bearing were well-suited to Westerns. One of his first film roles was as 'Card Player #2' in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).

In 1970–71, Sam Elliott starred as Doug Robert in the hit TV series Mission: Impossible, and played the lead character Sam Damon in Once an Eagle, an NBC miniseries during the 1976–77 season. He also played Tom Keating in the mini-series Aspen in 1977. He also had the starring role as Rick Carlson in the summer hit sleeper Lifeguard (1976). In 1979, he played the oldest brother in the made-for-TV miniseries The Sacketts, also starring Tom Selleck, Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens, Glenn Ford, Ruth Roman, Mercedes McCambridge, Jack Elam, and Gilbert Roland. He later played a wife killer in the miniseries Murder in Texas (1981) and A Death in California (1985). Elliott's breakthrough came with his supporting role in Mask (1985) when he co-starred with Cher. He has made guest appearances on shows such as Felony Squad, Gunsmoke, Lancer, and Hawaii Five-O and has been featured in many TV movies, including Prancer (1989) and Buffalo Girls (1995) in which he played Wild Bill Hickok. He has also starred in Road House (1989) with Patrick Swayze and played Virgil Earp in Tombstone (1993), which starred Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer. In 1998, Elliot was named the grand marshal of the Calgary Stampede parade and rode in the procession before an estimated 300,000 spectators.[citation needed]

Elliott co-starred in We Were Soldiers, which is based on the book We Were Soldiers Once… And Young, portraying Sgt. Maj. Basil L. Plumley. He portrayed General John Buford in the 1993 film Gettysburg. He also played General Thunderbolt Ross in the 2003 film Hulk.

Elliott played "The Stranger", a character narrating the story of The Big Lebowski (1998). In 2005 he appeared in Thank You For Smoking, where he played a former Marlboro Man advertisement cowboy who has developed lung-cancer. Elliot joined Nicolas Cage in 2007 in the popular Ghost Rider, and stood out in another film that same year, in The Golden Compass as a key character, Lee Scoresby. In 2009, Elliott had a small role in Up In The Air in which he portrayed the Chief Pilot of American Airlines. He has appeared three times on Parks and Recreation as Ron Dunn, the Eagleton equivalent of Ron Swanson; Ron Dunn is a hippie, compared to Swanson's staunch survivalist-Libertarian personality. He has a supporting role in the film The Company You Keep and plays a college football coach in 2014's Draft Day.

Voice acting[edit]

Elliott has performed voice-over narration for various commercials. He has lent his voice to campaigns for Dodge, IBM, Kinney Drugs, Union Pacific, and, most notably, the American Beef Council, succeeding Robert Mitchum in the latter. Since late 2007, Elliott has done voice-overs for Coors beer, bringing his deep, rich voice and "western" appeal to the brand brewed in Colorado. In 2010, Ram Trucks hired Elliott to do the voice-over for their Ram Heavy Duty truck commercial; he has been voicing their commercials since. He is also the new voice for Smokey Bear ("Only YOU can prevent wildfires"), and shares the mascot's birth date (August 9. 1944). Eliott lent his voice to "Buster" (a.k.a. Chupadogra) in Marmaduke (2010). He also narrated the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers team introductions to Super Bowl XLV – played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, at the conclusion of the 2010 NFL season – for Fox Sports.

Personal life[edit]

Elliott married actress Katharine Ross in 1984. Although Ross starred in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, in which Elliott had a very small role, the two did not meet and begin dating until 1978 when they both starred with Roger Daltrey in The Legacy. He and Katharine Ross have a daughter, Cleo Cole Elliott,[4] born in 1984, who is now a musician in Malibu.[5][6]



Year Title Role Notes
1969 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Card Player #2
1970 The Games Richie Robinson
1972 Frogs Pickett Smith
1972 Molly and Lawless John Johnny Lawler
1975 I Will Fight No More Forever Captain Wood Direct to Video
1976 Lifeguard Rick Carlson
1978 Legacy, TheThe Legacy Pete Danner
1985 Mask Gar
1986 Blue Lightning, TheThe Blue Lightning Harry Wingate
1987 The Quick and The Dead
1987 Fatal Beauty Mike Marshak
1988 Shakedown Richie Marks Also titled "Blue Jean Cop"
1989 Road House Wade Garrett
Prancer John Riggs
1990 Sibling Rivalry Charles Turner Jr.
1991 Rush Dodd
1993 Tombstone Virgil Earp
Gettysburg Brigadier General John Buford
1995 The Final Cut John Pierce
The Desperate Trail Bill Speakes Direct to Video
1996 Dog Watch Charlie Falon Direct to Video
Adventures of Mowgli Kaa English Voice
1998 Big Lebowski, TheThe Big Lebowski The Stranger
Hi-Lo Country, TheThe Hi-Lo Country Jim Ed Love
2000 Contender, TheThe Contender Kermit Newman
2001 Pretty When You Cry Detective Lukas Black
2002 We Were Soldiers Sergeant Major Basil L. Plumley
2003 Hulk General Thunderbolt Ross
Off the Map Charley
2005 Thank You for Smoking Lorne Lutch
2006 Barnyard Ben the cow Voice only
Alibi, TheThe Alibi The Mormon Also titled "Lies and Alibis"
2007 Ghost Rider The Caretaker / Carter Slade
Golden Compass, TheThe Golden Compass Lee Scoresby
2009 Did You Hear About the Morgans? Clay Wheeler
Up in the Air Maynard Finch Nominated - Critics Choice Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated - WAFCA Award for Best Ensemble
2010 Marmaduke Chupadogra Voice only
2011 Big Bang, TheThe Big Bang Simon Kestral
2012 The Company You Keep Mac McLeod
2014 Draft Day Coach Moore
2015 The Gettysburg Address Ward Hill Lamon (Voice) Documentary (Filming)


Year Title Role Notes
1968-1969 Felony Squad Numerous 3 episodes
1969 Land of the Giants Martin Reed 1 episode: "Six Hours to Live"
The F.B.I. SAC Kendall Lisbon) 1 episode: "The Prey"
Judd, for the Defense Dan Kenyon 1 episode: "The Crystal Maze"
1969 Lancer Renslo 1 episode: Death Bait
1969 Lancer Canopus 1 episode: The Great Humbug
1970 Challenge, TheThe Challenge Bryant Television film
1970 Lancer Cowboy 1 episode: Blue Skies for Willie Sharpe
1970-1971 Mission: Impossible Dr. Douglas Robert (Lang) 13 episodes
1971 Assault on the Wayne Ensign William 'Bill' Sandover TV movie
1972 Gunsmoke Cory Soames 1 episode: "The Wedding"
Mod Squad, TheThe Mod Squad Rick Price 1 episode: Good Times Are Just Memories
Molly and Lawless John Johnny Lawler TV movie
1973 Blue Knight, The Detective Charlie Bronski TV movie
Mannix Bill Saunders 1 episode, Little Girl Lost
Hawkins Luther Wilkes 1 episode: "Die Die, Darling"
1974 Doc Elliot Lee Barrows 1 episode: "A Time to Live"
Hawaii Five-O Jack Houston 1 episode: "The Two-Faced Corpse"
Evel Knievel Evel Knievel TV movie
Manhunter, TheThe Manhunter Will Gantry 1 episode: "The Ma Gantry Gang"
Streets of San Francisco, TheThe Streets of San Francisco Ken Johnson 1 episode: "The Hard Breed"
1975 Police Woman Michael Gregory 1 episode: Farewell, Mary Jane
1976-1977 Once an Eagle Sam Damon 7 episodes (Miniseries)
1977 Aspen Tom Keating TV movie
1979 Sacketts, TheThe Sacketts Tell Sackett TV movie
1980 Wild Times Hugh Cardiff 2 episodes
1981 Murder in Texas Dr. John Hill TV movie
1982 Shadow Riders, TheThe Shadow Riders Dal Traven TV movie
1983 Yellow Rose, TheThe Yellow Rose Chance McKenzie 22 episodes
Travis McGee Travis McGee TV movie
1985 A Death in California D. Jordan Williams 2 episodes (Miniseries)
1986 Gone to Texas Sam Houston TV movie. Also titled "Houston: The Legend of Texas"
1987 Quick and the Dead, TheThe Quick and the Dead Con Vallian TV movie
1988 The World's Greatest Stunts: A Tribute to Hollywood Stuntmen Himself Documentary
1991 Conagher Conn Conagher
Nominated - Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor - TV Film He also produced and helped co-write the script.
1993 Fugitive Nights: Danger in the Desert Lyn Cutter TV movie
1993 The Making of 'Gettysburg' Himself - 'Brig. Gen. John Buford, Federal' Documentary (On the making of the film Gettysburg)
1995 The Ranger, the Cook and a Hole in the Sky Bill Bell TV movie
Buffalo Girls Wild Bill Hickok TV movie
Nominated - Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor - Movie
Nominated - Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor - TV Film
Blue River Henry Howland TV movie
The Way West Voice Documentary
1996 Woman Undone Ross Bishop TV movie
1997 Rough Riders Capt. Bucky O'Neill TV movie
1997 Big Guns Talk: The Story of the Western Himself Documentary
1998 Texarkana N/A TV movie
1999 You Know My Name Bill Tilghman TV movie
2000 Fail Safe Congressman Raskob TV movie
2001 The Contender: The Making of a Political Thriller Himself Documentary (short)
2002 We Were Soldiers: Getting It Right Himself/ Sgt. Maj. Basil Plumley Documentary (short)
2002 The Making of 'Tombstone' Himself - 'Virgil Earp' Documentary (short)
2003 Hulk: The Lowdown Co-Host Documentary
2004 Anatomy of a Scene Himself Documentary- Episode: Off the Map
2006 Avenger Calvin Dexter TV movie
2010 November Christmas Jess Sanford TV movie
2012 Robot Chicken Various 1 episode: "Hurtled from a Helicopter Into a Speeding Train"
2013-2015 Parks and Recreation Ron Dunn 3 episodes
2015 Justified Avery Markham


  1. ^ "Movies & TV: Sam Elliott Biography". New York Times. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
    • a "Birthplace: Sacramento, California, USA" — ¶ 1.
  2. ^ "Sam Elliott Biography (1944-)". 1944-08-09. Retrieved 2013-05-08. 
  3. ^ "Sam Elliot Biography". Perfect People. 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-22. 
  4. ^ "Katharine Ross". People. 4 May 1992. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  5. ^ Magruder, Melonie (31 December 2008). "Straight from her heart". Malibu Times. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  6. ^ "'Cleo:". Daily Mail. 12 March 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 

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